In May, as the sun makes itself more at home across Oregon, it’s the time of year to head outdoors for on-the-water adventures.
If there’s a more exciting fishing moment than hooking and fighting a chrome bright chinook salmon fresh from the sea, I surely don’t know what it could be. That’s especially true on Tillamook Bay where an early morning May flood tides brings a rush of spring chinook – fresh from the ocean – in a rush up the estuary where anglers wait – with baited lines. The fish are special and what many call Oregon’s ‘premier’ salmon. The salmon are prized for their high oil content and rich, buttery taste.
On a recent Saturday morning, over 400 volunteers showed huge heart and commitment to help Oregon’s all volunteer fish hatchery called “Whiskey Creek.” Located in southern Tillamook County and hugging the shoreline at Netarts Bay, the Whiskey Creek Salmon Hatchery raises more than a quarter million Spring and Fall Chinook salmon each year.
The Tillamook Anglers Association has owned and managed the hatchery since the late 1980’s. Memberships and donations keep the operation afloat while the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife supplies the fish.
Whiskey Creek Hatchery is two miles from one of Oregon’s finest parklands: Cape Lookout State Park, where there is always something new to do. You may enjoy a beachside stroll or an overnight campout in a yurt or take a hike to the end of Cape Lookout where – this time of year – the gray whale migration north to the Bering Sea is at its peak.
Whiskey Creek Hatchery is on Netarts Bay. Drive to Tillamook and follow the signs to Cape Lookout State Park. The hatchery is two miles north of the park. More information is available from Jerry Dove at 503-812-1572.